Philadelphia Eagles

Eagles DBs coach Cory Undlin giving himself crash course on Ronald Darby

Eagles DBs coach Cory Undlin giving himself crash course on Ronald Darby

Eagles defensive backs coach Cory Undlin remembers studying Ronald Darby a couple years ago when the cornerback was coming out of Florida State. He remembers he liked him.

Since then, though, Darby was drafted by the Bills in the second round of 2015 and Undlin hadn't really thought about Darby very much.

Until last Friday.

"Well, Howie walked into my office and said 'Hey, man, Darby's going to be in your room tomorrow,'" Undlin said Saturday, a week and a day after the trade went down. "I said … 'I'll coach him up when he gets here.'"

Undlin said normally coaches don't really study other NFL players until those players are going to be free agents. Then, they study them like college prospects to see if they'll fit their scheme. Darby wasn't set to become a free agent for two more years.

There wasn't really any reason for Undlin to follow Darby's career.

"I had no idea," Undlin said. "I knew he was a good player. I knew he had a great rookie year, didn't really look at him or follow him much last year."

Since the trade went through, Undlin gave himself a little crash course, watching some of Darby's NFL tape.

What did he come away with?

"It was good," he said. "It was good."

Two days after the trade, Darby partook in his first practice with the Eagles. Six days after the trade, he played in his first game.

Darby played 14 snaps against the Bills on Thursday night and had a pretty good debut. He picked off one pass and should have had another. He showed off his cover ability and his break to the football.

Of course, his coach was quick to point out that it wasn't a perfect debut. Darby missed a tackle against LeSean McCoy on the very first play of the game. There were some technique issues that need to be sorted out. And Undlin said Darby's conditioning isn't where it needs to be yet — he said Darby got "gassed" in his 14 plays.

And then there was the missed interception.

"Would have also liked to see him snatch that first ball when he stepped in front of their sideline," Undlin said. "He should have made that one. You don't get many of those opportunities so I would have loved to see him make that play right in front of their bench. That would have been nice."

If some of those things sound nitpicky, well, they are. For a guy who was on a different team less than a week before the game, Darby had a damn good debut. Undlin knows that and he can already see how talented his new corner is.

Darby is talented enough that Jim Schwartz wasted no time tossing him in with the starting defense on his first day.

We know Darby will definitely be a starter and based on the first preseason game and practices, it looks like he'll be the starter on the left side of the defense. That’s where he's been the first two years of his career. But during this training camp in Buffalo, the Bills worked him on the right side and the Eagles will use him on both sides.

That leaves the possibility that he might travel to line up against other teams' best receivers in 2017.

"That'll come down the road when we play somebody where we feel like we have to do that," Undlin said. "Right now, we're not ready to make that decision. Too early for that."

Undlin is still learning about his new top cornerback. We're not even two weeks removed from the trade.

NFL Notes: Aaron Hernandez had severe CTE; daughter sues NFL, Patriots

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NFL Notes: Aaron Hernandez had severe CTE; daughter sues NFL, Patriots

BOSTON -- Former New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez had a severe case of the degenerative brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy, his lawyer said on Thursday in announcing a lawsuit against the NFL and the team for hiding the true dangers of the sport.

Dr. Ann McKee, the director of the CTE Center at Boston University, said Hernandez had Stage 3 (out of 4) of the disease, which can cause violent mood swings, depression and other cognitive disorders.

"We're told it was the most severe case they had ever seen for someone of Aaron's age," attorney Jose Baez said.

Hernandez killed himself in April in the prison cell where he was serving a life-without-parole sentence for murder. Baez said Hernandez had shown signs of memory loss, impulsivity and aggression that could be attributed to CTE (see full story).

Jets: Williams limited with bone bruise in wrist
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- New York Jets defensive lineman Leonard Williams was limited at practice with a wrist injury that he says is a bone bruise.

Williams was originally injured during the preseason, and says Thursday that his wrist is bothering him at times. It doesn't appear that the injury will keep him out of the Jets' home opener Sunday against Miami, but Williams might have to play through it.

Defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson sat out practice for the second straight day with a sore shoulder. He said Wednesday that it wasn't a big deal, and coach Todd Bowles says the Jets will see how it feels as the week goes along.

Starting right guard Brian Winters (abdomen) and tight ends Jordan Leggett (knee) and Eric Tomlinson (elbow) also didn't practice. Fourth-year backup Dakota Dozier would start if Winters is unable to play (see full story).

Packers: Perry latest key player to go down with injury
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The banged-up Green Bay Packers have lost another key player to injury with outside linebacker Nick Perry scheduled to have hand surgery.

Coach Mike McCarthy says he doesn't know how much time Perry will miss. He was off to a good start as the bookend to fellow edge rusher Clay Matthews with 1 sacks.

The Packers' first-round draft pick in 2012, Perry had a breakout 2016 last season with 11 sacks in 14 games.

The loss of Perry places added importance on the return of Ahmad Brooks, who was a full participant in practice on Wednesday after missing the Week 2 loss at Atlanta because of a concussion (see full story).

Broncos: Miller baffled by low hit from Cowboys receiver
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Von Miller says he's baffled by Cowboys wide receiver Noah Brown's low hit on him Sunday.

The Broncos linebacker pushed through Brown's block on the game's second snap and Brown got up and dived at Miller's knees as Denver's star chased down Ezekiel Elliott on a hand-off from Dak Prescott.

Miller shook off the hit to have a monster game in Denver's 42-17 win , but he has dealt with soreness in his left knee this week.

"My stance is as a player I've always tried to take care of my players on my football team and opponents as well, whether it's the quarterbacks, receivers, the running backs. So, when it's the other way around, it's just baffling," Miller said Thursday after returning to practice full-time following a limited practice Wednesday.

"But you can't really spend too much time on it," Miller added. "Everybody's situation in the National Football League is different. Everybody doesn't have the same outlook that I have and some of my comrades in the National Football League (have). Everybody doesn't see it that way. Everybody doesn't play the game like I play the game. You've got to respect that."

Earlier in the week, Broncos coach Vance Joseph declined to criticize the Cowboys wide receiver for his low hit, saying, "I saw it. It wasn't called. I'm OK with it."

Miller shook off the low hit and finished the afternoon with two sacks, five quarterback hits, two tackles for loss and a pass breakup.

Chris Long: Putting 'my money where my mouth is' with donation of game checks

Chris Long: Putting 'my money where my mouth is' with donation of game checks

Whether it was his passionate defense of Colin Kaepernick, his show of support for Malcolm Jenkins' raised fist by draping his arm around his teammate during the national anthem or his strong words about racism and violence in his hometown of Charlottesville, Virginia, Chris Long has been extraordinarily outspoken since he joined the Eagles.

Now he's more than outspoken.

"I had a few people that were like, 'Hey, these gestures are great but why don’t you guys get out there in your communities?'" Long said.

So he is.

Long announced via his Twitter account earlier this week that he plans to donate his first six game checks from this year's salary — more than $350,000 — to create two scholarships for students in Charlottesville.

At his locker on Wednesday, he explained what led to the remarkably generous gesture.

"My wife and I have been investing in scholarships in my hometown for a while," Long said. "I'm interested in education, always have been, and … the best way I can give back to something I love is take it out of my game check, because what I love doing is playing football.

"I could [fund the scholarship] another way, but just taking it out of my game check makes it real easy for me to realize why I’m coming to work every day. It’s been a blessing."

Long, 32, is in his 10th NFL season and first with the Eagles. He's the son of Hall of Fame defensive end Howie Long, who graduated from Villanova in 1981.

Chris Long had his first sack as an Eagle Sunday against the Chiefs. He now has 59½ in his career.

"I’ve been lucky," Long said. "I’ve made a lot of money in my career, so it’s not like I’m scrapping check to check. This isn’t a hero thing. It’s nothing like that. It’s honestly just that I want to put my money where my mouth is.

"It’s something we’ve done before, but we’re upping the ante this time."

Long signed a two-year, $4.5 million contract with the Eagles this offseason after winning a Super Bowl ring with the Patriots last year, the first time he's ever played for a team with a winning record.

His 2017 base salary is $1 million, which means each of his 17 game checks equal $58,823. Six game checks equal $352,941.

Long said being able to donate that kind of money makes the game more meaningful for him.

“It for certain does," he said. "It means a lot to go out and play football every Sunday. To be honest, I would play games for free. The thing I wouldn’t do for free is sit in meetings and do practice every day.

"Honestly, it’s a joy no matter what. But just knowing that the game checks are going to that makes it more special for me. You know, 10th year, you don’t know how long you’ll be able to do this, so your platform is really important and meaningful now. You don’t know how meaningful it’ll be in a year or two.”

Long said he's not done yet, either.

His foundation — the Chris Long Foundation — has more charity work in store in the coming weeks.

"My foundation is going to launch another campaign this year that’s going to be similar that’s hopefully going to have some fan involvement," Long said.

"It’s going to be broader reaching than just a couple kids getting scholarships, so I’m excited about that."